Banking in Taiwan
Taipei has become a major banking center, with a number of Western banks having offices. If you have a credit card or an account with any MAJOR bank brand (i.e., Citibank, Bank of America, etc.), be sure to inquire about services available in Taiwan. For a list of banks operating in Taiwan just go to your favorite search engine and do a query, “List of Banks in Taiwan.” In order to open a bank account in Taiwan you must have a resident visa.
Credit Cards and Cash Advances
Credit cards can be used at department stores, shops, hotels, and restaurants throughout Taiwan. Check with your bank and/or card issuer regarding credit-card cash advances.
Changing U.S. or Canadian dollars to New Taiwan Dollars (NT$) is easy and can be done at any bank; however, in order to prevent domestic capital from leaving the island, the purchase of U.S. dollars is tightly restricted in Taiwan.
Once you earn Taiwanese money, you’ll want to change some of it into U.S. dollars so that you can spend it outside of Taiwan. Also, NT$ are worth much less outside of Taiwan and are difficult to exchange.
Unless you’re in Taiwan on a resident visa, buying dollars is not always an easy task. Most teachers do it in one of the following ways:
Changing Money at the Bank
Foreigners can change NT$ into dollars at a bank, but in order to buy U.S. or Canadian dollars, you will be required to show proof of a previous and equivalent exchange transaction. For this reason, be sure to hold onto any receipts from changing money.
Another alternative is to go to the bank with a Taiwanese friend and have him or her change NT$ for U.S. cash or traveler’s checks for you. Traveler’s checks don’t need to be signed in front of a teller before leaving the bank, and tellers will think you’re strange if you sign the checks at the bank.
Check around for the best exchange rate by walking into a few gold shops and quietly asking if they have meijin (U.S. dollars). This is a “gray market” exchange and your rate will be slightly lower than optimal.